Charlie (Charles Manuel) Pasarell, Jr. is a former Puerto Rican tennis player, Tennis Administrator and founder of the current Indian Wells tournament.
He has also commented for the Tennis Channel and with Arthur Ashe and Sheridan Snyder formed the National Junior tennis League. He ten times ranked in the top ten of the U.S., ranking U.S. No. 1 in 1967 and World No. 11 in 1966.
Representing the United States as a player, he has been heavily engaged in the administration of the professional game from the inception of the ATP in 1972 and has been Vice President when he was still playing and until recently on the Board of Directors representing the Americas tournaments.
He is also known as Charlito ("Little Charlie") because his father had the same name and was also a gifted tennis player, being the champion of Puerto Rico six times in the 1950s.
Charlie is a descendent of one of the great Puerto Rican writers Manuel Zeno Gandia. His family's name has been synonymous with tennis in Puerto Rico since the 1930s. Apart from his father Charles Senior and mother Dora who were both island champions; Jose Luis Pasarell, Charlie's uncle was island champion in 1939, and his other uncle Nat was also highly ranked. His Auntie Maggie Pasarell de Kliess won the ladies doubles title in the 1950s. Charlie's brother Stan (Stanley Juan) who is now developing a world class golf course in Puerto Rico along with Charlie, was a very useful player, he won the U.S. Junior Doubles title with Alberto Carrero in 1966. Stan played in the U.S. Championships at Forest Hills six times between 1965 and 1971. In 1967 the Pasarell family won the USTA Family of the Year award. Charlie married Shireen Fareed in 1971 the daughter of the esteemed U.S. Davis Cup Doctor Omar Fareed, they have two children Farah and Charles (who represented Choate University at Tennis).
Pasarell was a prestigious junior and first appeared on the cover of World Tennis Magazine at the age of 11 in 1955. He won over half dozen Orange Bowl titles and five U.S. Junior titles including the U.S. Juniors in Singles and Doubles with Clark Graebner in 1961. He first appeared in the U.S. Championships at Forest Hills in 1960 and was first ranked nationally that year. In 1962 he played at the Caribe Hilton Championships in San Juan, Puerto Rico. This was arguably the biggest tournament in the whole of Central, Caribbean and South America.
Charlie was only just 18 and beat U.S. No. 7 Ron Holmberg, followed by Mexican No. 1 Mario Llamas 6-0, 6-0 in the quarter finals (avenging a similar 6-0, 6-0 defeat of his 14 year old brother Stanley earlier in the tournament). In the semi finals Charlie met Rod Laver, who would later win his first Grand Slam that year and he took the first set 6-0 before finally losing 6-4, 6-2. World Tennis reported that "The newspapers and magazines in Puerto Rico have put Khrushchev (Soviet leader behind the Cuban Missile Crisis) on the second page and Charlito on the first".
He attended the University of California, Los Angeles, where he won the NCAA men's singles and doubles with Ian Crookenden of New Zealand in 1966, one year after his friend and teammate Arthur Ashe. He reached #1 in the rankings of American men's players in 1967, also in 1967 he became the first man for over 30 years to win the U.S. National Indoors in successive years; this tournament was the biggest indoor tournament in the world and second only to the U.S. Championships in the U.S.A.
Pasarell competed in major tournaments from 1960 through 1979, with his most successful showings coming in doubles. He reached the finals in Men's Doubles at the U.S. Championships in 1965 with Frank Froehling and 1969 with Dennis Ralston, the French Open with Arthur Ashe in 1970, and the Australian Open in 1977 with Erik Van Dillen.
He was a quarter finalist at the U.S. National Championships in 1965 and Wimbledon in 1976. Pasarell was also a member of the U.S. Davis Cup team in 1966, 1967, 1968, and 1974.
In doubles Pasarell's most significant wins were the 1967 U.S. National Indoors with Arthur Ashe; the inaugural American Airlines Games in 1974 with Sherwood Stewart which evolved to the current tournament in Indian Wells and the Alan King Classic in 1976 with Arthur Ashe. The latter two at the time were two of the richest most prestigious tournaments in the world.
In 1969, Pasarell played Pancho Gonzales in what was, until 2010, the longest match in Wimbledon history in terms of the number of games played. The 41-year-old Gonzales finally defeated the 25-year-old 22–24, 1–6, 16–14, 6–3, 11–9 after a battle that lasted 5 hours and 12 minutes.
Pasarell was also the first man to beat the reigning champion in the first round at Wimbledon, when in 1967 he beat Manuel Santana. In 1968, he played the first great match on centre court of open tennis when he narrowly lost to Ken Rosewall in the second round. Rex Bellamy, the celebrated tennis correspondent of The Times of London, started his article the next day by stating that "The first open Wimbledon produced its first great match", and further stated: "Among the men who climb to high places there is a saying that the mountains bring you three things - men, battle, and beauty. The men are true, the battle is the only kind worth fighting, and the beauty is life. Rosewall and Pasarell took us to the mountains yesterday - and the air was like wine." Finally, after covering other matches, the article ends, "Yet the abiding memory will be of Rosewall and Pasarell. If they show films in Valhalla, this is a match the gods will want to see." Pasarell achieved his best result at Wimbledon in 1976, when he lost in the quarter finals to former world No. 1 Ilie Năstase, after wins against Jun Kamiwazumi, Vijay Amritraj, Adriano Panatta (then ranked No. 6 in the world, having just won both the Italian and French Opens), and Phil Dent.
1977 was Pasarell's last full-time tour on the circuit and he started the year very well with a last 16 appearance in the Australian Open losing to eventual runner up Guillermo Vilas. A semi final at the South Australian Open including a win over Arthur Ashe (in their last match) and a Quarter Final at the American Airlines Games (a for runner of the Indian Wells event) with wins over Balazs Taroczy, Vijay Amritraj and Roscoe Tanner before losing narrowly to then world no.4 Brian Gottfried in 3 sets. He then had a bad run of form signalling the slow down of his career.
He finished ranked 77 on the ATP Computer and 25 in the USA. He had also started the year well in doubles with Erik Van dillen. In 1978 Pasarell's career continued to wind down he was not given a wild card to Wimbledon and lost in the 1st round of Qualifying to Jan Simbera 7-5, 6-4. In 1979 he qualified for both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open and started to play veterans events.
He actually made his last attempt to qualify for the main draw at Wimbledon in 1984 aged 40 when he was not invited to take part in the Over 35's singles event and lost in the first round to Jeff Turpin. He continued to play regularly on the seniors tour until the end of 1985 and then stopped playing completely in 1988.
He returned in 1992 to play regularly in the U.S. Open Seniors events until his last appearance in 2002, he also played in a veterans event in Puerto Rico in 1993.
Pasarell has been instrumental in the development of a premier professional tennis event, the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California. He has been a longtime director of the tournament until retiring from that position in 2012. Pasarell is also a commentator for The Tennis Channel television. He is a member of the Intercollegiate Men's Tennis Hall of Fame and the Southern California Tennis Association Hall of Fame.
In 2001, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars was dedicated to him.
Pasarell was voted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame in 2012.
In January 2013, Pasarell was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame as a Contributor.
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